Sunday, 18 June 2017

Book Review: Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness IndexTitle: Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index
Author: Julie Israel
Series:  n/a
Pages:  308
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: 1st June 2017
Source: For review from publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: It's hard to keep close a person everyone keeps telling you is gone.

It's been sixty-five painful days since the death of Juniper's big sister, Camilla. On her first day back at school, bracing herself for the stares and whispers, Juniper borrows Camie's handbag for luck - and discovers an unsent break-up letter inside. It's mysteriously addressed to 'You' and dated July 4th - the day of Camie's accident. Desperate to learn the identity of Camie's secret love, Juniper starts to investigate.

But then she loses something herself. A card from her daily ritual, The Happiness Index: little notecards on which she rates the day. The Index has been holding Juniper together since Camie's death - but without this card, there's a hole. And this particular card contains Juniper's own secret: a memory that she can't let anyone else find out.


My Thoughts:
I was very excited to find this waiting for me when I got back from uni, and I took it on holiday with me to read straight away. The writing is very easy to read and I found that even though I've never experienced anything like Juniper's experience before, it was easy to get lost in her story and really feel for her. Despite the dark subject matter it manages not to be overwhelming and it is a truly great read.

I got stuck in quickly and the novel as a whole didn't take me long at all. I loved the plot line and how it unfolded, with Juniper and her friends searching for and finding lost things - first her missing index card, and then other things that push the story onwards (I won't spoil the mystery with what they are!). Throughout Juniper is also searching for someone she doesn't know who was dear to her sister, and this mystery propels the story forward and keeps you wanting more in just the right way.

The way that Julie Israel deals with Juniper's grief is expertly done. The heaviness of the topic could be difficult to wade through, and although at times it does get slightly darker when it seems that everyday life is too difficult, on the whole Israel keeps it honest and real and lightens it with Juniper's wit and sassiness in a perfect balance.

Overall it's a really great read, and even though with a grief and loss theme you might not think it would be great for your summer TBRs, it really is worth the read. I cannot recommend it enough, and at only 300ish pages it's perfect for a day on the beach or by the pool. Also isn't the cover gorgeous? Go buy it!


*Huge thanks to Penguin for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiTitle: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: n/a
Pages:  384
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Date of Publication: 1st June, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Synopsis from Goodreads: The arranged-marriage YA romcom you didn't know you wanted or needed...

Meet Dimple.

Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi.

He's rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she's got other plans...

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is a frothy, funny contemporary romance set at a coding convention in San Francisco over one exciting summer. Told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists, Dimple is fighting her family traditions while Rishi couldn't be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents. Could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?


My Thoughts:
As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. It sounded just up my street, and especially exciting as it's about a culture I know pretty much nothing about, tbh, apart from the stereotypes. I was also very interested to read an approach to arranged marriage that wasn't extremely negative, and I feel like I learned a lot from the protagonists, Dimple and Rishi. Even though it took me a long time to read due to exams and uni and general life stresses getting in the way of my reading, I really really enjoyed it.


Sandhya Menon really excels at writing believable and relatable characters. I really loved (or hated, when appropriate!) every one of them. Dimple and Rishi are just perfect. I loved Dimple's confidence and determination to go off and do what she wanted to do - coding - delightfully nerdy and defiant of usual gender stereotypes so woop woop - and give her all to it. Then Rishi was so nice and kind and just the perfect guy, right from the beginning, and I loved how he was so unashamed of his culture and heritage and how he defended it completely even under pressure. And his artwork! I wish I could just be friends with them both haha.


Even though their relationship gets off to a... rocky, start, shall we say, right from the beginning as the reader I was rooting for them. They fire off each other so perfectly, and then as they grow to get to know each other more they fit together so well that you just can't help but fall for them. Even though their relationship was a little predictable and I saw the twists coming, it didn't matter because it was just so cute and perfect. That's not to say that the twists didn't still rip my heart out because they did; the last 10% is like multiple punches in the heart tbh, though so don't worry about that. They still have a lot of impact!


I really liked the setting of Insomnia Con too. It was so cool to see characters being so openly nerdy and geeky - Dimple really did love coding in such an unashamed way that I've rarely seen in books or in real life, honestly. Then I loved Rishi's passion for comic book art - the sketch off at the party was one of my favourite parts of the novel. It'd be so cool if the finished copy of the book came with some illustrations (but alas I don't think that that is in the pipeline). *hint hint*


Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi is super fun and super cute and pretty much the ultimate feel-good book. It's also really informative of Indian American culture, and gives a completely different view of arranged marriage, which was really cool. I cannot recommend it enough for your summer TBR piles - it's definitely worth the purchase! 

Out next week (1st June!).



*I received this book for free from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Book Review: Girls Can't Hit by T.S. Easton

Girls Can't HitTitle: Girls Can't Hit 
Author: T.S. Easton
Series:  n/a
Pages:  288
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication: 20th April, 2017
Source: NetGalley*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously - until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She's the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction.

So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur's overprotective mum can't abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won't she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don't get it either and even her boyfriend, 'Prince' George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite - but it's Fleur's body, Fleur's life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training.


My Thoughts:
I was a big fan of Tom's earlier book, Boys Don't Knit, so I was excited to read this title. It promised to be funny and feminist, and it was both of these things. I enjoyed it a lot, and made for fun down-time reading around my essays.

Anytime someone says girls can't do something, I'm the first to jump on the bandwagon that proves they can, so this was right up my street. I loved Fleur and her friend Blossom's determination to prove the stereotype wrong, and reading their feminist rants were great fun, even if at times they came across as a little bit info-dumpy. I can forgive that though cos they do make important points, haha.

I enjoyed reading about Fleur and her boxing, and all about her exercise and training.  I've never been that interested in sports so that surprised me a lot, but since I recently started going to the gym I could empathise with Fleur's struggle at first, and it gave me hope for the future as I saw how fit she was getting (I can get there too!). I've also never really considered boxing before, never really understood why you would want to punch each other, but I can kind of see now. Still don't think it'd be for me, though ;)

I really liked the supporting characters, particularly Fleur's friends Blossom and Pip.  I loved how they went to Battle and did reenactments every week, and the fun and silliness that that caused.  I also really liked the characters who were at boxing with Fleur, and how they developed from turning their nose up at Fleur at the beginning for being a girl but they came round to actually be pretty cool by the end.  The only problem I had was Fleur's boyfriend (whose name I have already forgotten) but I'm not sure I was meant to like him much so that's alright...

Overall, Girls Can't Hit is a really enjoyable read and I definitely recommend it if you're looking for something that's a little bit different and will make you laugh, with important themes of feminism and friendship, as well as plenty of silliness!



*I received this from Hot Key Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

And Then We Ran blog tour: The Power of Coincidence

Hey guys! I'm so excited today to share this guest post from author Katy Cannon, whose new book And Then We Ran publishes this week! I've read and really enjoyed this book (see previous post for a review!) and I'm sure you guys will too!


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Sometimes it feels like the world runs on coincidence.

There are 365 days in a year, and slightly fewer people in my immediate family, and yet we all seem to end up sharing birthdays. My childhood best friend and maid of honour never actually saw me get married, as she gave birth on the morning of my wedding day. Wherever I travel in the world I always end up bumping into someone from home.

And then there’s my friend James.

James has three gorgeous children with his wonderful, patient and generally awesome partner. They’re very happy. But James has always said - ever since I met him over twenty years ago - that he would never get married. He didn’t need a piece of paper to make him commit, a wedding was a waste of time, and a marriage was unnecessary for him to have a happy family life. All perfectly valid and reasonable views. We all just accepted that there’d never be a wedding in James’ future.

Which is why it came as such a huge surprise when, less than a year ago, he called to tell us he and his partner were getting married – next month. In Gretna Green. Slap bang in the middle of the one week of the year that my husband and I would be away on holiday in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, with the kids, and my whole family.

Actually, that’s not the only reason it was a huge surprise. The biggest reason is because of the power of coincidence.

You see, the day before James called with his big news, I’d just finished writing my latest YA novel, And Then We Ran. It’s the story of two friends who, to escape their small town life and their families’ expectations, elope to Gretna Green for the least romantic wedding ever. Of course, Megan and Elliott's road trip is fraught with difficulties and disaster - as well as new friends, and a new way of looking at each other... Oh, and did I mention that their small town is in Pembrokeshire?

“Obviously we want to go,” my husband said. James had been his best man at our wedding, and had asked my husband to be his in return. “But can we?”

I pulled a face. “As it happens, I do know quite a bit about transport between deepest, darkest Pembrokeshire and Gretna Green,” I told him. “It’s at least six and half hours drive, non stop, as long as you don’t get stuck behind a tractor. Or crash into a sheep. Or break down and end up in the pub instead."

“So that’s five hours from here to Pembrokeshire, a day with your family, then six and a half hours up to Gretna, wedding, stay the night, six and a half hours back, then another five hours back home again two days later.”

“With two kids in the back. Yes.”

“That doesn’t sound like fun. What about if we leave the kids with your parents then get the train up and back?” he asked.

“Four trains,” I replied promptly. “Tenby to Camarthen, Camarthen to Crewe, Crewe to Carlisle then Carlisle to Gretna Green. About ten hours, all told.”

“How do you know all this?”

“Remember when you found all that information about getting married in Scotland on my desk and said you hoped that it was research….?”

As you can imagine, we didn’t make the wedding. But did Megan and Elliott make theirs?

You’ll have to read And Then We Ran to find out...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you'd like to buy the book, click here
Follow Katy on Twitter: @KatyJoCannon

Book Review: And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon

And Then We RanTitle: And Then We Ran
Author: Katy Cannon
Series:  standalone
Pages:  352
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Date of Publication: 6th April, 2017
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: A road-trip story about following your dreams and embracing the unexpected.

Megan knows what she wants out of life and she intends to get it, whatever her parents say.

Elliott has given up on all his plans for the future – but then Megan bursts into his life with a proposal that could change it forever.

Together they embark on a road trip to escape their hometown and chase their dreams. But life is a journey and not even Megan can control where theirs will lead…


My Thoughts:
I was a massive fan of Katy's first two books, Love, Lies, and Lemon Pies, and Secrets, Schemes, and Sewing Machines when I read them a few years back, and so I was very excited to read this new release, and it didn't disappoint! I read it quickly and really enjoyed it.

The plot is quite bonkers but as long as I didn't think too hard about it, I enjoyed it.  Elliot wants to go to uni but money stands in his way, and Megan can't wait to get out of town to escape her parents' expectations. So, they decide to get married and move to a flat in London that Megan's inherited. Why Elliot couldn't just get a student loan and why Megan couldn't just talk to her parents about her plan (which was quite good I thought, minus the marriage bit!), I don't know, but then I guess we wouldn't have had quite such a story!

The first half of the book is Megan and Elliot preparing to get married with the help of their friend Becca, and trying to keep it a secret from their friends and families. I really liked this bit - getting to know the secondary characters and their little town was really interesting. Their beach town life is so far from mine and I really enjoyed spending my time in their town in Pembrokeshire. I'd love to visit!

Then the story moves on to the road/train trip up to Scotland, to Gretna Green, where they can legally elope without their parents' consent. They encounter loads of problems on the way which only makes it more exciting and tense to read, as you try and work out whether they're gonna make it on time or not. It's a romp through the UK and it's a lot of fun! The characters they meet along the way are great too, and I flew through the last half of the book in just two sittings (which, considering I was on holiday at the time, is quite remarkable!).

The ending then wraps the novel up nicely. I loved the journey, both physically and emotionally, that the characters went on and the ending is just too cute, even if it was rocky to get there. I was rooting for Megan and Elliot's relationship throughout, in its various forms, and I'm really happy with the way it ended, which honestly I wasn't expecting. If you're in the mood for something fun to wind down and relax with, then this is the one for you! Katy's writing style is so easy to read and get lost in, and so you really won't be disappointed. Go pick it up!


*I received this from the publisher in exchange for a review and a blog tour post. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel, these are my genuine opinions. 


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Mini Reviews: Heartless, Unconventional, and The Mystery of the Painted Dragon

Hello! Here are three mini reviews of some February releases!

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HeartlessHEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
Published 9th February, 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.


In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Cath longs to open a bakery, but her family and the king have other ideas. Set in the world of the Looking Glass, it promises to be weird and wonderful and deliver a heartwarming story of forbidden love... But it didn't really, to be honest.

After fifty pages, I found myself wondering where the book was going and when it was going to get started. Then fifty pages later, I was still wondering that. I wasn't excited about reading the novel, and I decided to DNF after 150 pages when I realised I just didn't care for the characters or what happened to them.  There's a big fat stench of instalove as well - Cath doesn't know Jest at all but suddenly she thinks she's in love with him? No thanks.

It does however do well at being as weird as Alice In Wonderland, which I really did enjoy - it has lots of strange animal characters, court playing cards characters, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, but with a slight twist for Meyer's prequel world.  I also really liked reading about Cath's baking, as cake will always be a winner for me! However she didn't live up to her full potential here either, and so with the other problems I had with the book, it just wasn't for me.

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UnconventionalUNCONVENTIONAL by Maggie Harcourt
Published 1st February, 2017 by Usborne Children's Books
Everyone's a fan of someone...

I got this book from book club, not really knowing anything about it but thinking it sounded fun. After reading only a few pages, I knew that I was right! This book is SO much fun. Lexi's dad is a convention organiser, and so she's spent her whole life at these events. So when Aidan Green turns up and diverts the usual course of action, she's understandably a little bit miffed.

I loved the characters most in this book. Lexi is a great protagonist, and I feel like we could be good friends, if she were real. I could sympathise with her frustration at Aidan at first (people who mess up my usual order are the worst) but then as we got to know him more I fell for him too. The supporting characters are also really great, especially Sam, Lexi's best friend. The best books are ones that celebrate friendship just as much as romance, and Unconventional does this so well.

The conventional aspect was so great. Having been to LFCC a few times now I could imagine the setting so well, and I loved seeing it from the perspective of organisation as well. I loved reading about the cosplay (especially Sam's!) and the completely unashamed excitement that everyone had about them was so great to see (loads of my real life friends are like "eurghhhh con is weird... boo to them!"). Finally there were so many references to YA authors that I've read and loved and that was super exciting! Such a perfect ode to UKYA fiction and fandoms and I loved it. I would 100% recommend!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (The Sinclair’s Mysteries #3)THE MYSTERY OF THE PAINTED DRAGON by Katherine Woodfine
Published 9th February, 2017 by Egmont Books
It's their most perilous adventure yet! 

This is the third book in one of my favourite series! The Sinclair's Mysteries are just so much fun and a delight to read and I always look forward to the new release, and this one didn't disappoint. Also isn't the cover just gorgeous?! :D

In this story, Sophie and Lil find themselves on the hunt for a missing dragon painting from an exhibition in Sinclair's. The mystery itself took a little while to get started, but I didn't mind so much since it meant I could spend the first 100 pages or so getting to know Leo and Jack and the whole cast of new characters from the Spencer Art Institute, which plays a large role in the book. Also feminists! Yay!

As I've come to expect from these books, the mystery was very exciting and gripping, and the last 50 pages or so were the usual romp through Edwardian London that is so hard to put down. Although I worked out who the thief was really early on, I enjoyed finding out how they did it and was still surprised by some aspects. There was also the return of a notorious criminal from previous books, and so the continuation of that story through the three books so far is still going strong and only makes me even more excited for the next one. I can't wait! Get on reading this series if you haven't already! It won't be a mistake ;)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Book Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

The DiabolicTitle: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Series:  The Diabolic, #1
Pages:  403
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 1st November, 2016
Source: For review from publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There's no one Nemesis wouldn't kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy's most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she's been told she doesn't have - humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire...


My Thoughts:
The Diabolic is one of the best books I've read this year (and also has one of my favourite covers!). I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into when I started, but once I was in I was flying through the pages and even though it's quite a beefy book, it didn't take me that long at all. Different aspects of it reminded me of other YA books, such as Illuminae and Divergent, but it truly holds its own and is a really enjoyable read.

Nemesis was a really great protagonist. She's a Diabolic, a genetically engineered human, built to fiercely protect Sidonia, rather than have her own life and feelings as a human of her own.  But as the book progresses, through an unlikely match and having to face constant battles her character develops and she becomes fiercer and stronger and much more human, which was really great to see. She never loses her fierceness though and there are frequent reminders of her Diabolic-ness, for example when she gets mad she imagines killing them and although it's morbid, you never can forget that she is a badass that will rip you to shreds, and that's actually a pretty cool perspective to read from.

The world of The Diabolic is really interesting and has the potential to be awesome in the coming books (I think it's gonna be a series?). For the first fifty pages or so it was quite difficult to keep track of everything due to the world-specific language: there's Senators, Servitors, Diabolics, etc, and then all the families to keep track of - it's not that complicated it just takes a little getting used to, like any fantasy/futuristic world. There's also an established religion throughout which I really liked, and I've found that faith isn't a huge aspect of much YA so top points for that. As it's all set in space as well, at moments this was really well done in that they visited other planets and then for a ball they literally moved the ballroom through the sky to get a pretty star/nebula view through the windows which was super cool, but I think there's potential to make even more use of the setting. The only thing I'd say is that maybe a bit of history about how the world ended up like this would be handy, as well as interesting!

The plot was *really* good. Once the plot thickens and the real story gets started, it packs the punches and leaves nothing to the imagination.  No character is safe - S.J. Kincaid isn't afraid to do the unexpected! I loved this aspect, I was completely shocked on many occasions and the ending is just twist after twist - pow pow pow bam bam bam did that really just happen?! The ending ties up very neatly (maybe just a little too neatly?) but there's a lot of room for sequels which I think are coming, so that's very exciting! The relationship between Tyrus and Nemesis also was really great, even though it was totally unlikely I think they fit together really well and I ended up rooting for them quickly.

Overall The Diabolic is really not one to be missed! It's got a little bit of everything to suit everyone, and it's just a really great romp through space that I absolutely loved. I can't wait to read more of the series, and I'll definitely be checking out Insignia, the first book of S.J. Kincaid's first series.



*Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Book Review: Take Two by Perdita and Honor Cargill

Take Two (Waiting for Callback #2)Title: Take Two
Author: Perdita and Honor Cargill
Series:  Waiting For Callback, #2
Pages:  344
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date of Publication: 26th January, 2017
Source: Sent by author*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Elektra has finally landed a part in a film. It's the dream. Well ...until she works out that Straker is a movie so dystopian that within weeks most of the cast and all of the crew wish that the world had actually ended (preferably in scene one). And while it's obviously great news that she's moved from the friend-zone with Archie to become his almost-girlfriend, it would be better if he hadn't immediately relocated to Transylvania to play a vampire hunter surrounded by 'maidens of peerless beauty'.

Full of humour and warmth, this new series is perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The It Girl.


My Thoughts:
I loved Waiting For Callback when I first read it last year, so I couldn't wait to get started with Take Two. I got stuck in and quickly got lost once again in Elektra's story, and I loved every minute of it. It was so good to be back!

This book is about Elektra's part in the action movie Straker. I really enjoyed all the scenes when Elektra was on set, even the stuff that wasn't about filming. Weirdly, I particularly loved reading about her dressing room (I would have been just as excited!) and the table read, and getting to know all the characters who helped make the film. Even though Carlo, Elektra's on-screen love interest, was quite annoying I really liked reading his interactions with Elektra, and the drama between Sam and Amber was constantly entertaining. All the characters came to life and I just wanted to visit the set!

Alongside filming, Elektra is dealing with being a fifteen-nearly-sixteen year old, complete with school stresses and boy troubles.  Once again the authors hit the nail on the head with Elektra's internal monologue of worries and woes; she's very relatable and realistic.  I really enjoyed the development of her relationship with Archie too - and could understand her frustration at their situation and the hiccups they faced.  The end is very, very cute!

This series is such a joy to read - it's light and it's fun and it made me laugh out loud so many times, and at one point I even shed a tear. I definitely recommend the books if you're looking for something to lose yourself in for a while, and I can't wait to read book three next year... Can I have it now? :P

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Book Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

A Quiet Kind of ThunderTitle: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Series:  n/a
Pages:  307
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Date of Publication: 12th January, 2017
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.


My Thoughts:
I really liked Beautiful Broken Things when I read it last year and so before I even knew what A Quiet Kind of Thunder was about, I was excited for it. Then I read the summary, and I knew this was a book for me. I didn't know much about mutism or sign language, or any of the kinds of issues that are tackled in this book, and so I was excited to learn new things while following Steffi and Rhys' story.  And I'm happy to report that it didn't disappoint - and I even liked it more than I liked Beautiful Broken Things.

Due to the nature of the book being fundamentally about Steffi and Rhys' communication issues, there were lots of different formats of storytelling, which was something that right from the start I really enjoyed, and helped me to get stuck in to the book.  When the two communicate in sign language, the text is in bold, and there are also sections of texts and instant messages, as well as lists and other fun things which change up the reading style and keep you hooked. It also made it very easy to fly through the pages!

The book is very informative about what it's like to a) have selective mutism and problems with speech, and b) being deaf.  Before reading Thunder I couldn't even begin to imagine how different life would be if I could not speak or hear, but now I feel like I could understand through Steffi's internal monologue and her conversations with Rhys. It's enlightening, and definitely made me realise I take these things for granted!

Steffi and Rhys' relationship was so great.  It says on the blurb that they get together so right from the start you can root for the two of them, and they progress through getting to know each to becoming more than friends so naturally that you can't help but cheer them on the whole way.  I feel like it was a true depiction of a first teenage relationship, including a few realistic and slightly awkward scenes of a sexual nature (which literally made me snort out loud in laughter on a silent bus journey), which I think is important to do well and Sara Barnard definitely did a really great job.

Overall A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a book not to be missed, especially if you're in the mood for a heart warming and realistic relationship story.  I can't wait for more from Sara Barnard in the future - with this release she has secured her place on my auto-buy list!


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora BanksTitle: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Series:  n/a
Pages:  302
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: 12th January, 2017
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.


My Thoughts:
I think that Emily Barr deals with the potentially tricky topic of what it's like to have amnesia really well. I have no idea how it feels, but despite the fact that the circles that Flora goes round and round in, trying to piece together what she's doing, do become slightly tedious due to their repetitiveness, they did give an interesting insight into her head. I feel like maybe everything she managed to do was unrealistic (like, her parents would definitely have noticed and stopped her, especially if they're as paranoid as they are surely?!), but in terms of what it's actually like to have amnesia, I imagine it was a realistic and honest representation.

The book gets slow in the middle, but then picks up again at the end as the plot twists are revealed.  I didn't see them coming, although perhaps in hindsight I should have? (But if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you'll probably have worked out that I'm actually terrible at predicting endings, haha.) Flora's an unreliable narrator and I guess that's half the challenge of the book, working out what's going on inside her head when you know she can't remember what you just read a few pages ago.

Now, I know that kissing a boy for the first time is a pretty momentous occasion, but it annoyed me that this was the one memory Flora could hold on to.  And I know that with amnesia of Flora's type the writing will be cyclical as she has to remember everything every few hours.  And I don't want to be rude because it must be awful, but it's quite tiresome having to read the words "I kissed Drake. I love him." every few pages.  (Especially when she can't remember anything about him but kissing him and so therefore how does she love him?) I dunno, I can see why this memory was chosen but half of me just wishes it was a memory that was slightly more interesting and didn't revolve around a boy (who also just isn't that great).

There were a few things that happen that didn't sit right with me at all, but I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers (feel free to comment/tweet me if you wanna know!). Also, I know her mum herself isn't well but I definitely did not like her or what she did to Flora, and I think maybe more time was needed at the end to sort out that whole issue. However, on the whole I guess I could appreciate the book as a finished package, and if you're interested you should definitely pick it up - and maybe you'll get on with it much better than I did.



Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Book Review: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Wing JonesTitle: Wing Jones
Author: Katherine Webber
Series: n/a
Pages:  384
Publisher: Walker Books
Date of Publication: 5th January, 2017
Source: Gifted
Synopsis from Goodreads: Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.


My Thoughts:
I really liked Wing, and she was very relatable.  Her perception of fitting in and not belonging anywhere due to her dual heritage was portrayed realistically, and I enjoyed seeing her grow in confidence throughout the book.  Her conflicting feelings of first grief and sadness, then anger and frustration at Marcus and the accident were written sensitively and very honestly which was refreshing to read.  I thought her relationship with Aaron was good, and developed naturally under the circumstances.

I've seen many reviewers saying that it inspired them to put on their running shoes... But my trainers are still firmly wedged in the bottom of the wardrobe, never to be seen again.  I did get her obsession with running and how she thought it would help Marcus, but the elements of magical realism put me off slightly and some of the running descriptions were a bit weird, but I think that's just my personal preference!  Also, there's no way that Wing would be able to run for several hours at 3am every night and have no one notice that she's really tired and sluggish during the day cos surely she would have been?  I dunno :P

Wing's grannies Granny Dee and LaoLao were my absolute favourite thing about the book.  They're hilarious!  Their banter and bickering is a joy to read, as are the more serious and touching moments throughout too. Eliza, Wing's running friend, was also really great, and I loved seeing their friendship blossom as the book went on, especially as she had the potential to be more of a nemesis character.

Overall, Wing Jones is a really great read and a fab debut to start off your reading year (I know I'm a bit late with this but just go with me, I haven't written a review in a real long time... ;) )  I look forward to reading more from Webber in the future!  


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